On to Song of songs 8:1-7
In this chapter we see the coming together again of the Shepherd and the Shulamite. We are going to see what was said about their love and why they were able to overcome this attack on their marriage. Having overcome, their love is stronger, more powerful, and more satisfying. It is an even greater testimony of G-d’s power and presence in their lives.
v1: (The Shulamite): Oh, that you were like my brother: There is a degree of insecurity within women in regard to their relationship with their spouse. The Shulamite is wanting to feel secure. People do not want to destroy the relationship between a brother and sister and nor are siblings shamed if they are seen together publicly. The Shulamite is wanting to feel that same security and confidence one would have within a familial relationship.
- Nursed at my mother’s breasts: She is again alluding to the common union found between siblings. With her spouse she wants this same type of union (relationship) which society affirms and does not attack.
- I would not be despised: In one sense she publicly belongs to King Solomon (see chapter 3:6) – he had come with his soldiers and swords in order to take her. What she is saying here is that she wants her relationship with the shepherd to be recognized so that she can feel secure publicly. She does not want to worry about what others are saying or what others might do in coming against their relationship.
v2: House of my mother: A place of security, a place where she felt safe, her home.
- She who used to instruct me: The same things that she experienced growing up in regard to a marriage (between her mother and father) she wants to experience with him now. The point that we should glean from that is this: if we are married and have children our marriage is going to greatly influence how the children perceive marriage, and how they will behave in regard to their own marital commitments.
- I would cause you to drink: When we drink we find satisfaction. Quenching our thirst also brings joy. She is affirming that she would be a provider, a giver, an investor in this relationship for the purpose of bringing joy to her spouse. When a man makes his wife feel secure, she behaves in a way to bring him satisfaction and joy.
v3: His left hand is under my head: He supports her. The first thing that he does in thinking
about intimacy and growing close to her are thoughts not of his comfort but of hers.
- Embraces: Hugs
v4: Do not stir up nor awaken: Do not let anything interfere with covenantal love. It is precious and fragile and should not be treated lightly or carelessly.
v5: (The Chorus): Note: This verse speaks of their reunion – in chapter 3:6 Solomon came up from the wilderness for the day of his marriage. The same imagery is used here but this time in regard to the Shulamite and her beloved Shepherd.
- Wilderness: That which is empty, that which has nothing. Being in this place caused her to depend on and trust G-d. Through all that she went through she relied upon the L-rd and He brought them back together.
- Apple: A place of joy. A place that has a pleasing fragrance. It is a place of preference. This is what the Scripture is saying – she is in her preferred place, not in the palace with King Solomon. She did not have her head turned by Solomon’s wealth or power, but her preference was for the Shepherd. He was not a wealthy man, but he was a G-dly man. He knew how to be faithful to his flock and, therefore, how to be faithful to her.
- I awakened you under the apple tree: She has found a safe place with him. Through this relationship she has found security.
- Brought you forth: (Gave birth). This image testifies of a new life, a birth. Although Solomon had attacked this relationship, by taking her into his inner chambers, that has past and she has been given a new start, a new beginning, with her beloved.
v6: Seal: Speaks of ownership, possession, or responsibility. The Shepherd is not domineering over her, but she is happy to be willingly surrendered to him within this relationship.
- Heart: One thinks with the heart. She wants everything that he thinks about or does to be done taking her into consideration. Men are wise when they involve their wives in the decision-making processes.
- Arm: Normally when this word is used, especially in Hebrew culture, it is used in regard to holding something. We find here that it is another term for embracing. Arms can also be synonymous with deeds/actions.
- Love is as strong as death: Love brings about the death of some things (especially those things done before marriage that would now exclude our spouse). The same thing happens with our love for G-d. When we love G-d many things also need to change, things no longer appropriate in keeping with the covenant or commitment between ourselves and Him.
- Jealousy: A wrong experience of love is jealousy. Jealousy can destroy those things that are good in a relationship.
- As cruel as the grave (Sheol): Love brings about the death of those things that are destructive.
- Flame: Emphasised in this verse.
v7: Many waters cannot quench love: True love overcomes (1 Corinthians 13 – love perseveres, love overcomes, love endures)
- All the wealth of his house: His net worth. All of his possessions (i.e. all of the things that make up his portfolio or estate)
- Utterly despised: Solomon (an exceedingly wealthy man) is saying here that every single thing a person has accumulated in life is less valuable than the love that can be found in a G-dly marriage. This love is far superior to anything that money can buy.